MORE than Finances

Get your finances in order, and get on with your life!

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Getting the Most out of a Mortgage Loan

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For homeowners, one of the easiest ways to get extra cash to pay bills, take care of unforeseen emergencies or plan upgrades to their home or personal business is by taking out a mortgage loan. These loans use the equity you have built up in your home as collateral to borrow money from a bank, mortgage company or any other financial institution.

As opposed to personal loans, mortgage loans are easier to get because homes and property have value and are used to secure the loan. If a person defaults on a mortgage loan, the lender can foreclose on the property to get back some of the money that was loaned.

How to borrow against your house

To get the best rate for your second mortgage, you need to have a good credit score and know exactly how much money you want to borrow. Since a second mortgage will be paid back concurrently with the original one, you don’t want to overextend your ability to pay it back.

Once you have determined how much money you need, start looking at who to borrow from. Although going to your original mortgage company is usually the safest way to borrow money against your home equity, it isn’t always the only way or the best way for that matter.

  • Make sure your credit score is good. When your credit score is high, even doing business with your current bank or mortgage holder is easier. The higher your score, the more leverage you have with your financial institution.
  • Know the current market. Interest rates are a leading indicator of the financial landscape, but they don’t give you valuable information about how a bank or financial institution does business. Do your homework.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are borrowing money and using your home as collateral, that gives you every reason to want to know about all the aspects of the loan process. Don’t let yourself be bullied into agreements that you do not understand.
  • Read the fine print. Everything has a price and most of the ‘hidden’ fees and costs can be found in your contract. Read it, ask questions and don’t sign it until you understand what it says.

All financial institutions are not alike

Although interest rates are a prime consideration in who you refinance through, it should not be your only consideration. Fees, requirements and interest payments also play key roles in deciding who the best lender for you should be.

Communication is also very important. Since most of the communication between you and the finance company will be with a single person, you want to ensure that you can work and communicate clearly with your mortgage loan originator.

What is a mortgage loan originator?

In a nutshell, a mortgage loan originator is the person who works with you to complete the loan process. He or she is your main point of contact at your financial institution and will walk you through the entire procedure. Although you will be borrowing money from the bank or mortgage company, the mortgage loan originator is the face of the transaction.

If you are uncomfortable with your mortgage loan originator, you can ask for his/her replacement or go through a different financial institution or bank. It cannot be stressed enough that having a positive relationship with your loan originator can make the entire mortgage process easier.

Although refinancing your mortgage is not your right, you have every reason to want to get the best deal possible while setting the terms of the agreement. In addition to having collateral, your credit rating and credit history should earn you the respect of our financial institution.

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Vehicle Driving Etiquette: Know When to Turn Off Your High Beams

key-949094_640When you first got your license, you got behind the wheel assuming that most people try to follow the rules of the road when they drive. But the first time you rolled up to a four-way stop sign and watched someone accelerate out of turn, you realized: Many drivers ditch driving etiquette the moment they leave the DMV. This bothers you, and it should! Not only is it just plain rude, but it makes driving more dangerous and difficult for everyone else.

Or maybe you’re a long-time driver wondering if you’re the person offending others on the road. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate some of your driving habits to make every commute to work a little smoother.

Either way, here’s a quick refresher on some common vehicle driving etiquette: 

High Beams

We all know the feeling of helplessly squinting against someone else’s high beams. As the oncoming vehicle gets closer, you wait for them to switch to low beams. If they don’t, you’ll have to steady your hands on the wheel and avert your eyes until they pass.

Don’t be this person. While high beams are useful for rural driving, open highways or certain types of weather, they are not optimal for use in nearby traffic. As DMV.org writes, “Be sure to switch off your high beams when you see an approaching vehicle. High beams make it difficult for other drivers to see the road.”

In fact, some states have laws regarding switching from high to low beams when other vehicles approach. It’s not just courteous and safe; it may spare you a citation.

Using the Blinker

How are other drivers supposed to know what your next move is if you don’t use your blinker? While you might know that you’re planning to switch lanes or make a turn, others can’t read your mind.

What are the consequences of drivers neglecting to use their turn signals? One study from the Society of Automotive Engineers shows that neglecting to use turn signals properly may cause as many as two million accidents per year in the U.S. and occur 750 billion times annually.

The moral of the story: Use your turn signals before changing lanes or completing turns. And if you change your mind, turn it off as quickly as possible so other drivers can react accordingly. You may just cut down on the risk of a multi-vehicle crash for yourself and others. 

Highway Merging

Sometimes merging onto the highway means anxiously hoping that the drivers already on the highway will let you join. Mistimed merging can lead to scary situations—from getting rear-ended on the on-ramp if you have to slam on your breaks to getting scraped against the guardrail if you have to dodge an oncoming vehicle.

If you’re the merger, you need to get up to speed so you match the flow of traffic. As the National Motorists Association points out, pulling out into traffic that’s going 20, 30 or 40 miles-per-hour faster than you can cause a dangerous accident. You’ll also be delaying the cars behind you. Use the merge lane as a chance to accelerate and match traffic; then check frequently to make sure that you’ve found an open spot and can make a safe merge.

If you’re already on the highway and see that someone is trying to merge, move over to the left if it’s safe to do so. If you absolutely can’t switch lanes, either speed up or slow down so the merging car has a comfortable cushion to enter the highway.

Insured Driving

Unlike overt driving habits, you have no way of knowing if other motorists have insurance—until you get into an accident. The Insurance Research Council found that uninsured driver claims totaled $2.6 billion in 2012. This can end up raising the premiums for all drivers across the board.

It’s good etiquette (not to mention a legal requirement in most states) to have at least minimum liability coverage, although you may want to protect your vehicle with a collision or comprehensive plan. Taking the time to compare car insurance rates ahead of time will give you confidence on the road, regardless of whether other drivers are as thoughtful.

If we all follow basic driving etiquette, the roads will be a better place. We all have the power to prevent accidents (or at least a bout of road rage or two) by doing our part.

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How to Finance Your Mobile Home

dawn-1836077_640Owning a home is a major part of the American Dream. There are many paths to homeownership. One of the most popular kinds of home purchases is a mobile home. Mobile homes are widely available in many communities. Buying a modular home is a great way to have your own space and build equity. It’s also a way to have a private place that you can decorate to your specific tastes. In order to get the house you want, most people will need to get a mortgage. Getting a mortgage on your mobile home requires attention to detail, an understanding of the process and the ability to demonstrate that you handle the payments.

Factors You Need to Take Into Account

Several factors go into financing a mobile home. Such factors include the type of home, the cost of the property and the amount of the loan. Unlike a traditional type of property, this kind of property typically needs to go through a special process that allows for a secure loan. Be aware that you may not be able to get a loan for an older mobile home. For a new mobile home, you will usually need to have at least five percent of the purchase price on hand or more depending on the loan company. However, if you live in a rural area, there are loan programs that allow you to put down even less and offer home loans that are backed by the government. The type of home will also influence any mortgage. A larger home may actually be more favorable as it has more features that can contribute to any resale value should you choose to sell the property on your own.

Working With the Company

One of the best ways to get the space you want is to work with a manufacturer directly. Many companies such homenation.com can help you sort through potential financing possibilities and offer specific financing options. This includes both short-term loans and longer term options. They often work closely with people who have problems with credit. While the terms may be higher than other kinds of loans, this is one of the best ways to get a home you want.

An FHA Loan

FHA loans are those that are insured by the Federal Housing Association. These are ideal for people who have faced credit challenges in the past. These kinds of loans are guaranteed by the government, making them more attractive to sellers who want to sell the property to a wider group of people. In order to get the FHA loan, you will need to have a house that is below a certain age and attached to a foundation. If you are planning to buy a house that is not currently attached to the foundation, a manufacturer can help you restructure the house and the foundation so that it qualifies for the loan you want.

VA Loans

If you are a vet, you can often qualify for a special loan from the Veterans Affairs administration. Loans from the VA allow the buyer to get financing at a lower rate than from a standard, conventional loan. Keep in mind that getting these types of loans often require a specific credit score before you can even apply. Make sure you have your paperwork in order before applying.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Another option for those buying a manufactured home is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae is a federal program designed to provide homeownership for underserved parts of the housing market. They back loans for manufactured homes. Freddie Mac is another arm of the federal government that also offers government-backed home loans. Both agencies offer loans that homebuyers can use in order to get the loan they want.

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Smarter Home Shopping: How to Negotiate a Better Price Without Breaking a Sweat

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Purchasing a home of their own is a dream than many people have. There is a sense of accomplishment and freedom when you have a piece of land and a house that you can call your own. Actually finding and buying that dream, however, can be a difficult proposition that many people aren’t prepared for.

A home is one of the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so you want to save as much money as you can during the process. This means that you have to be able to negotiate a price that you can live with, and you can only do that if you know what you’re doing and are in a good position to do so. Here are a few tips that will help you during those negotiations.

Get Your Financial House in Order

The first thing you need to do before you start looking for a home to buy is to know exactly what you can and cannot afford. This means going over your finances to see where you stand.

Make a simple budget of everything you have coming in and going out so you can see how much of a mortgage payment you can afford. Include everything you can think of, from grocery bills and student loans to existing mortgages and other large debts. Then you’ll get an accurate picture.

The reason you want to do this is so you can get a preapproved to get a property loan offer from a bank. Your negotiating power increases if you know exactly how much you can bring to the table.

Go for Value, Not Price

Someone who is selling their home — whether by themselves or through an agency — can really ask whatever they want to for the property. Sure, it might not sell and they will need to adjust, but they can start wherever they want.

This means that you need to know the property’s value rather than the selling price. If a home is listed at or below the value, then there’s a great chance you won’t find a better deal and you can take it. If the home is overpriced, you can use that knowledge to negotiate for a lower final price. This can be a savings of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Why Are They Selling?

One of the best things you can do to improve your negotiating ammunition is to find out why the house is on the market in the first place.

Motivated sellers — those who need to sell quickly because of some life changing event like a new job or a divorce — give you a great opportunity to negotiate the final price down so they can unload their property and move on with their life. Ask questions to the seller and the agent so you can find the reasoning behind the sale and use that knowledge to your advantage to get a better price.

Remember these tips when you want to find a new home.

Abbie Dodd works as a real estate agent and shares her tips and insider insights online with her articles.

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Ways to Save Money Selling Your Home

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Selling your house can be a difficult task, more so when it comes to trying to stick to a budget. Those who have had lots of experience either moving around or flipping properties will have discovered some of the many tricks to saving money when selling a home, but for others it feels like you can be tied into things you never knew you could renegotiate.

Fast Florida House Sale is an online realtor that have had many years experience in dealing with home sales, and understands where money can be saved, especially for those looking to sell their home fast. Here is there quick guide as to the things you should look out for.

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